Activities June, 2016
June was a very significant month in the response to HIV. The climax was reached at the United Nations High Level Meeting held in New York, USA. And NEPHAK representative, including three adolescents drawn from the Sauti Skika Adolescents Network were there. The consultations to gather views of Kenyan adolescents and adults on the same started in February this year and by April, NEPHAK had already compiled the issues emerging from representatives of the groups and networks of people living with HIV across the country. Read NEPHAK position on HLM and the Sauti Skika Adolescents Position were presented to the National HLM Working Group at NACC. The National HLM Working Group compiled all views and came up with the country position paper
It was this position that informed the Kenya team engagement at the New York HLM. The Kenya team that included NEPHAK, Sauti Skika and members of the Parliamentary Health Committees was led by the Health Ministry Cabinet Secretary Dr. Cleopa Mailu.
Earlier, NEPHAK with the support of the UNFPA engaged in a number of activities under the Kenya 8th Country Programme. In Nairobi, Kilifi and Homa Bay Counties, NEPHAK members were reached out to deliberate on the bottlenecks and constraints women living with HIV face when accessing interventions aimed at eliminating mother to child transmission of HIV (eMTCT). This was immediately followed by a qualitative survey to explore and understand the levels of HIV – related stigma in the context of eMTCT through a People Living with HIV Stigma Index Survey. The lessons learned by NEPHAK during these consultations were presented to the team reviewing the national eMTCT Guidelines and Framework. It is expected that the post 2015 eMTCT Agenda shall take cognizance of the views and opinions presented by NEPHAK.
Still on the eMTCT and KMA programme, NEPHAK joined the National AIDS and STIs Control Programme (NASCOP) in the discussion around review of the programme framework and guidelines to be in line with the post 2015 development agenda. Here, NEPHAK is advocating for the recruitment and support of the mentor mothers from among the PLHIV networks to support the enrollment and retention to care and support by women and girls living with HIV.
And then NEPHAK members joined the National AIDS Control Council to disseminate the Fast Track Plan to end new HIV Infections and AIDS among adolescents 10 – 19 years and young people 20 – 24 years. This was done in all the 47 counties of Kenya and NEPHAK member organizations worked hard to mobilize adolescents and young people to join the dissemination forums.
NEPHAK also joined the UNFPA and partners to launch the, I am Initiative. The I AM Initiative teaches girls how to protect themselves, trust who they are & what they feel so they can be positive change in the world. NEPHAK is mobilizing, educating and mentoring adolescents and young people to engage in this initiative.
Then to end the month, NEPHAK hosted the National Women Living with HIV Forum on sexual gender based violence and HIV with support of the UNDP. The initiative was part of the ‘Know Your Rights Training’ that emerged from a recommendation of the Baseline survey on ‘Common forms of Sexual and Gender Based Violence against Women Living with HIV’. During the forum, participants were also trained on various laws and policies that exist to ensure their safety and which they can also use to mitigate sexual and gender based violence.
Women living with HIV regularly face discrimination and are more likely to experience violence– a direct result of their HIV diagnosis. Living with HIV exposes women to new sites of violence, not only from partners, family members and the wider community, but also within institutional settings, such as health care and prisons. Gender-blind laws and policies around HIV further compound the problem. Women from key populations affected by HIV, such as female sex workers, women drug users, and women in the criminal justice system are even more likely to experience violence. The baseline survey revealed that in 72.5% of the cases, perpetrators are persons known to the WLHIV (they could be extended family, neighbours or husbands/partners). The training is meant to enable women monitor, document, refer and even mitigate cases of human rights abuses involving people living with HIV, including those that touch on gender based violence.